NBX Weekend Race Report
by Jesse Quagliaroli
After taking some time off in the middle of the CX season to be a “responsible” homeowner, I decided what better way to come back to racing than on a weekend where temps would be in the 20s/30s and the wind and rain would be plentiful. I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had gone to a race until I had several teammates not recognize me due to my Jesus like appearance. Not to break my luck streak this year, both days my random call up was 2nd from the last row. It is like they know where I belong, especially since my training plan this fall has been SS mountain biking and jumping in 6 hr races in which more beer than water was consumed. Right from the gun, bikes and bodies were all over the field due to the mud and I was able to stay upright as people leaned against each other to fit through the corners. I had a good start and was feeling strong until I noticed that slowly but surely my brakes were getting weaker and weaker and then nonexistent. Turns out the pad adjustments I made before the race was just making up for the complete lack of material I had left. Once the levers went to the bar and did nothing to slow me, I thought now is a good time to get my pit bike. Well, that was a mistake. I fly into the pits and look around frantically for my bike. I swore I left it on the 2nd rack but it was nowhere to be found. Finally, a kind sole noticed my panic state and informed me someone’s bike was removed due to their tires being too wide. Whoops, guess the number on the side of the tires is just a suggestion to their size, so it was back onto my brakeless wonder to see how long I could stay in the race before getting B-‘ed (80% ruled). I did another 2 laps Flintston-ing my way around the course while the few people I was ahead slowly passed me. Turns out having to go into the deep mud/sand and using your feet to stop isn’t the most effective way to ride. I finished 1 lap off the lead lap and was fine with that considering the circumstances.
Showing off my cucumber handup. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nable
I was ready to make up for my mechanical laziness/stupidity. I got to the race early, swapped out my pads in the nicely headed Shimano tent, and then rode around to break them in. Once I got them fine-tuned and felt confident in their stopping ability I went over to the taco truck to get my prerace burrito before doing some warm up laps. As I rode back to my car to change I realized I must have run over something and my front tubular was down to about 5 psi. The only spare wheels I had were my illegal ones from the day before, so I raced over to the Stan’s tent, filled my tire up, and crossed my fingers it would hold. The wind chill was brutal and there were still some lingering puddles on course, so I did some quick hobo-cyclist mods to my attire (trash bags over my socks and nitrate gloves inside my gloves) to help keep me warm. I lined up in the super scrub zone once again and our start was much smoother than the day before. Everything was going well until we hit the woods and people went every which way to avoid the deeper mud and find the fast line. I ended up pushed into the tape and had to dismount so all the positions I gained were lost in the blink of an eye. Slowly, I worked my way back, but the long road section in the wind was not my forte and I struggled to fight the ocean breeze. Eventually I got ahead of the group I was in, but it was too late. I had a couple laps free from traffic, got a cucumber handup, and was able to make up a little time was a minute shy of finishing the full race. NBX is always a great venue, and Matt and his crew put together a great course every year.